Georgian garbage in Abkhaz ballot-box25.08.2011 | 12:44
Upcoming presidential elections in Abkhazia arouse interest in many countries, including Georgia, which tries to step back from any events in its former territory. Still, the official Tbilisi's actions are entirely destructive. Local diplomats are trying to persuade influential foreign politicians and public activists to keep from visiting the republic during the voting. True motives of the Georgian authorities' behavior were discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with a well-known Russian expert Alexey Martynov.
The election campaign in Abkhazia goes on smoothly. Petty scandals and incidents cannot cast a gloom on significance of the people's first will expression after the recognition of the republic's independence. It looks like the absence of loud scandals and provocations has put Georgia on the alert, for the voting held in compliance with international standards will seriously increase Abkhazia's chances of being recognized by the world community in future.
Tbilisi does not believe that the plebiscite on electing Abkhaz president may be disrupted by some external powers. That is why local diplomats may only try to compromise their neighbor. According to representatives of the Abkhaz CEC, Georgian MFA and embassies in different world countries are warning representatives of parliaments, parties and various international organizations against visiting the republic, which is "a threat to their health". "In their notes, Georgian ambassadors underline that various sanctions under the Georgian law will be applied to the European observers coming to Abkhazia", - Sukhum officials say.
In fact, these sanctions are overt racketeering in respect of the guests coming to St. George's land legalized at the state level. Those tourists who dared to visit Abkhazia or South Ossetia and then went to admire the beauties of Batumi and Kutaisi face the risk of getting behind the bars. Though first, they will have a conversation with the officers of local law-enforcement authorities who will explain to the slow-witted ones that despite the "victory" over corruption, one can come to an agreement with the Georgian guardians of order. The price of the matter is several thousand dollars depending on the "client's" standing. Now the same hazard is waiting for the global community representatives who will visit Abkhazia as observers during the presidential elections. However, despite the Georgian authorities' resistance, over one hundred people have already got registered, the number growing day by day.
The viewpoint that Georgia fears further legitimization of the Abkhaz authorities - whoever they are represented by - is shared by a well-known Russian expert, Director of the International Institute of New States Alexey Martynov. In his opinion, Sukhum managed to demonstrate an absolutely transparent election mechanism, thus queering the pitch for Tbilisi. "Instead of watching the voting procedure, the process of the people's will expression, analyzing and describing it, Georgian MFA and embassies in different countries set up some vague provocations, writing notes and intimidating letters and threatening with punishment. These appeals are sent to everyone from foreign policy administrations - members of European Union to leaders of certain European parties. Is this the Georgian politicians' vision of democracy?" - Martynov remarked in an interview to GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
He added that the official Tbilisi's behavior may be explained by local managers' apprehension to be beneath comparison with the civil society of Abkhazia. "There are no democratic institutions in Georgia; there is no opposition, no free elections, though the authorities report a different situation to the world".
There is no doubt that unlike its Tbilisi neighbours, Sukhum will be able to ensure democratic voting, which will become a heavy blow at the current Georgian authorities' position. In several months, Tskhinval is again going to remind the world of its right of independence when RSO citizens will also have to elect a president. Georgian diplomats in the European countries should better not delete their computer files with requests to avoid visiting Abkhazia addressed at local politicians: in several weeks, they will have to compose similar petitions in respect of South Ossetia.